The Suns continued their game of runs this season in dramatic fashion. An unacceptable fourth-quarter collapse nearly cost them their 5-game win streak, but they were able to survive in the end. A win is a win, no matter how ugly it is, you gotta stack the wins.
Suns head coach Monty Williams on the 4th quarter: “It was poor, the execution. The turnovers can’t happen in the second unit like that and they should be able to maintain a lead like that and not give it back. We just have to be better. The game is about runs and how you handle those emotional swings.”
They rolled out a starting five including Paul, Booker, Bridges, Crowder, and McGee as expected with Deandre Ayton out. Frank Kaminsky was the first substitution of the game for Phoenix, followed by the Cams then eventually Shamet.
They played three-quarters of very good basketball, which you have to do to survive an 11-point 4th quarter to win. Devin Booker’s late-game charge was also a huge moment on a successful challenge by Phoenix late in the 4th, making it a 3-point swing at a critical juncture.
Key Suns Performers
- Cam Payne- 24 points (ties reg season career-high), 4 rebounds, 3 assists
- Devin Booker- 18 points, 9 rebounds, 6 assists, 2 steals
- Mikal Bridges- 16 points, 2 rebounds, 1 assist, 2 steals, 2 blocks
- Chris Paul- 16 points, 5 assists, 3 rebounds
Key Kings Performers
- Harrison Barnes- 26 points, 6 rebounds, 2 assists, 1 steal
- De’Aaron Fox- 24 points, 5 assists, 4 rebounds, 3 steals, 3 blocks
The Suns got off to a strong start, coming out with a purpose taking a 22-13 lead with 4:30 remaining in the first quarter.
Devin Booker was very involved early on, scoring 9 points with 5 rebounds, 1 assist, and 1 steal in 11 minutes of first-quarter action. Phoenix led 34-28 heading into the second quarter.
Cam Payne showed some life early, scoring 10 points in his first seven minutes of action. They sorely missed his injection of energy with the second unit, no knock on Elfrid Payton, but they’re a much better team when he’s out there.
The Kings shot the ball well to start the second and were able to claw their way back into the game led by Terence Davis (of all people) scoring 11 points on his first 5 shots of the game.
Both teams were hot offensively, hitting tough contested shots on both ends essentially trading punches. The Suns shot 50% from three-point range while the Kings shot a piping hot 60% from three in the first 2 quarters.
Cameron Payne poured in 17 first-half points to go with 3 assists and 0 turnovers on 6-of-8 shooting from the field. Frank Kaminsky was a solid bench contributor as well, chipping in with 8 points, 3 rebounds, 1 steal, and 1 block before getting benched due to foul trouble.
The second unit had 39 points in the first half compared to the starters’ 28 points.
Heading into the half, the Suns led 67-64.
In the third quarter the Suns' defensive intensity picked up dramatically and they were able to build an 81-64 lead with 7:31 remaining in the quarter.
It was a balanced attack by Phoenix in the third, with nearly everyone chipping into their dominant 31-to-12 quarter.
Payne: 19 Pts, 7-11 FG — Booker: 18 Pts, 8 Reb, 6 Ast, 8-15 FG — Bridges: 16 Pts, 6-8 FG after three-quarters of action.
The Suns led 98-76 heading into the final quarter.
Frank Kaminsky cooking Damian Jones was poetic justice against the team that cut him.
Frank's got moves pic.twitter.com/suZuLOCCCH— Bally Sports Arizona (@BALLYSPORTSAZ) November 9, 2021
The fourth quarter got off to a dreadful start as the Suns' offense came to a halt, getting outscored 20-7 in the first 8 minutes of action. They frankly looked clueless and couldn’t get any rhythm going for nine straight minutes.
Simply put it was an embarrassing quarter and not the first time this season they’ve struggled for an extended stretch. There has to be some credit given to the Kings as well, they really fought hard. Phoenix was lucky to survive, but a win is a win.
Remember when the Suns were 1-3 and the sky was falling?— Zona (@ZonaHoops_) November 9, 2021
Well, they've won 5 in a row since then are now 6-3 sitting a half-game back from the #2 seed out West. It's been ugly at times, but all things considered, I'll take it.
Star of the Game
Cameron Payne — 24 points, 4 rebounds, 3 assists, 1 steal on 9-of-14 shooting.
Phoenix vs. Portland — Wednesday, November 10th at 7 PM (MST) in Phoenix, Arizona.